Students taking soil sampes
Doctor of Philosophy

About the Program

Make an impact as an expert in your field with a PhD in Biology from Case Western Reserve University, one of the top research universities in the U.S. Our rigorous curriculum and research opportunities will prepare you to work at high-profile universities, in industry, at government agencies, or in renowned medical institutions, including Cleveland Clinic or University Hospitals. No matter where your career takes you, our network of more than 110,000 alumni will have your back as you critically identify and analyze biological problems. Plus, with full tuition coverage, a competitive 12-month stipend through a research or teaching assistantship, and a medical plan, all you have to focus on is completing your program.

What to Expect

Here, you’ll join a group of students with diverse goals and research pursuits. Our faculty teach a wide variety of courses, but they specialize in neuromechanical systems, ecological consequences of environmental change, and cell and developmental biology. You’ll benefit from their expertise in classes such as ecophysiology of global change, functional genomics, and ecology and evolution of infectious diseases.

You’ll work closely with our supportive faculty to meet your research goals, and ultimately defend your dissertation.

The average time to graduation is six years, during which time you can publish your research as you make strides toward your career. For example, our faculty and PhD students publish their research in influential journals, including Science, Development, PLoS Biology, Ecology Letters, Proceedings of the Royal Society, and Current Biology.

Our biology faculty serve on editorial boards of more than 15 prestigious journals, including Cell Transplantation, Journal of Applied Ecology, Oxford Bibliographies, and others. 

Many of our PhD students conduct research at the Biology Research Station at the Squire Valleevue Farm which features over 400 acres of diverse natural habitat, a research greenhouse, experimental ponds, growth chambers, and modern lab and classroom spaces.

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Beyond the Classroom

Because of the abundance of incredible organizations in Cleveland, we created the BioScience Alliance. Researchers at CWRU, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Holden Arboretum make up this powerhouse group that conducts research and training programs in biology. Having organizations such as these right in your backyard—and taking advantage of the opportunities they offer—can lead to full-time employment after graduation, just as it has for many of our graduates.

We also have a new learning and research space for you to explore: Bio[box]. Here, you’ll have access to cutting-edge tools and, with the help of faculty and fellow students, you’ll produce groundbreaking research results.

By the Numbers


tuition coverage through teaching and research assistantships


university in the nation, U.S. News & World Report


for contributions to innovation, Nature Index Innovation


students in the program


years to complete, on average

Admission Requirements

Our program thrives when we have students with diverse perspectives and a range of educational, professional and life experiences. We look forward to learning more about you!

The application process requires:

  • Online application, including a personal statement that identifies three potential faculty advisors who would be a good fit for you
  • $50 application fee
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, preferably in one of the science disciplines (either already complete, or will be complete before you enroll)
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Current resume/CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Test scores for GRE (optional)
  • International applicants: Results of TOEFL or IELTS

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